Smith Hoyle’s Waters

At last year’s Keighley Show, the History Society was invited to visit Apsley Motors on Victoria Road in Ingrow. The owner of the business was selling up and we had the chance to take photographs of the premises which had once housed the mineral water and bottling factory founded by Smith Hoyle – S. Hoyle Ltd. The owner also wanted to hand over various documents and ledgers belonging to that company that had been abandoned in the roof space of the old factory.

The visit took place in November 2023 and it’s taken us a while to catalogue everything, but we now ready to share the photographs and documents on our Flickr site…

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The Mystery surrounding Edward II

Keighley and District Local History Society’s next meeting will be on Wednesday 8th May 2024, upstairs in Keighley Library. The guest speaker will be writer and historian Alison Harrop, giving her talk “Lady Mortimer and Edward II: From Skipton to Berkeley Castles”.

Alison writes under the pen-name Alice Mitchell, and her novel “The Mortimer Affair: Joan De Joinville’s Story” was published by YouCaxton Publications in 2020. Alison was born in Keighley and grew up in East Morton, becoming head girl of Bingley Grammar School before training to be a doctor. She worked for more than 20 years as a medical doctor in the Wirral and in North Wales, and moved back to Keighley following the death of her husband in 2019.

Her novel tells the story of Joan de Joinville, wife of the infamous Roger Mortimer, who was imprisoned in Hampshire and then at Skipton Castle, because of her husband’s rebellion against King Edward II in the 14th century. Mortimer was alleged to have ordered the murder of Edward at Berkeley Castle in 1327, but the novel gives Joan a voice and tells an alternative story through her eyes. Joan suffered a great deal of hardship and humiliation but ended-up surviving both men by many years. Alison’s talk addresses the question did Edward II really die in Berkeley Castle?

Anyone is welcome to attend the meeting. Entry costs £3.50 (free if you are a history society member). The meetings are upstairs in the local studies library of Keighley Library on North Street. Doors open at 7pm, the meeting starts at around 7.20pm and Alison’s presentation will begin at 7.30pm. We finish around 8.30pm. Please use the side entrance to the library on Albert Street if you are arriving after 7pm.

Anyone is welcome to come along and if people wish to join the society they can pay in cash on the night (membership for the rest of 2024 costs £15 or £20 for a couple living at the same address). History Society members also have the option of joining the meeting via Zoom.

Two years in the scanning…

In June 2022, the History Society received a generous donation of thirty five programmes for productions given by Keighley Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society over a span of almost fifty years.

The Hippodrome Theatre programmes received as part of a donation in June 2022.

The collection ranges from “The Yeomen of the Guard”, staged in 1909 by the Keighley Amateur Lyric and Dramatic Society (one of the two societies that came together in 1913 to form the Keighley Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society), to “White Horse Inn” in 1958, which was the first production by Keighley Amateurs not to be performed at the Hippodrome Theatre (which had closed in 1956).

Nearly every single programme between those years was included in the donation and it’s taken Tim Neal of the History Society nearly two years to scan over 1,500 pages that make up all the programmes. Each booklet is between 32 and 52 pages long, and contains details of the production, photographs of the cast, and dozens of adverts for local businesses, and each booklet serves as a valuable time capsule for that period in the town’s history.

Each programme can be viewed in its entirety on the History Society’s Flickr site.

Police History Talk

This month’s History Society meeting will be on Wednesday 10th April 2024. It will be held upstairs in Keighley Library. The guest speaker is Dave Hardcastle of the West Yorkshire-based Mobile Police Museum and the subject is “120 Years of UK Policing”.

Dave is a retired West Yorkshire Police constable with 20 years of service, who offers a light-hearted, unique and engaging presentation of the police service over the last 120 years or more. He presents in period police uniform, accompanied by a collection of genuine police equipment including uniforms, hats, helmets, period truncheons, handcuffs, and even 1980s radios that are in working order for the audience to try. These exhibits date from 1880, covering the early Victorian period, both world wars, and up to the 21st century. The audience can touch and handle these vintage items for a more immersive experience.

Anyone is welcome to attend the meeting. Entry costs £3.50 (free if you are a history society member). The meetings are upstairs in the local studies library of Keighley Library on North Street. Doors open at 7pm, the meeting starts at around 7.20pm and Dave’s presentation will begin at 7.30pm. We finish around 8.30pm. Please use the side entrance to the library on Albert Street if you are arriving after 7pm.

If you wish to join the society you can pay in cash on the night (membership for the rest of 2024 costs £15 or £20 for a couple living at the same address). Members can take part in the meeting via Zoom (although this one will be best experienced in person if you can!) – details will be sent out by Anne-Marie this weekend.

Martin and his grandfather Percy

A massive thank you to author Martin Greenwood who came up from Warwick to deliver his talk on local artist and entertainer Percy Monkman last night. As well as being shown many beautiful examples of Percy’s watercolour paintings and sketches, we learned how he was a good friend to J. B. Priestley, mainly through his work with Bradford Playhouse as well as living close to each other and playing on the same football team as young boys (!), and how Percy served as an entertainer to the troops during both world wars. All this while holding down a job as a bank clerk in the same branch for forty years!

Martin’s book on Percy is available from thegreatbritishbookshop.co.uk – highly recommended! There is also a copy available to read in the Keighley Local Studies Library.

Elsie May Foulds, Mayor

Today is International Women’s Day and so we look back at Elsie May Foulds, the only woman to serve as Mayor of Keighley in the years of the Borough Council from 1882 to 1974. She served in the post from 1966 to 1967.

Elsie had been born Elsie May Richards in 1895 (according to Ancestry.co.uk). She played a part in both the first and second world wars. According to the Keighley News of Saturday 5th January 1963: “(She) put a couple of years on her age at the beginning of the 1914-18 war in order to join the Red Cross, and nursed throughout the war. When the war ended, remembering her experiences, she saw a chance of helping those who had suffered. Since 1921 she has been one of the (British) Legion’s keenest workers. A native of Devon, she joined the ATS southern command at the start of the 1939-45 war and was senior leader in the recruiting office until she came north to work in welfare.”

Elsie became the second wife of George Croft Foulds, when the couple married in Skipton in July 1944. George had served in the military in World War One and was a Captain in the 49th (West Riding) Infantry Division. In civilian life he became a director at I. Foulds and Sons Ltd., a tannery in Parkside (George was the grandson of founder Israel Foulds), and at Fleece Mills Co. Ltd. George died on 4th July 1951 at the family home in Thornton-in-Craven, he was 67.

In 1958, she stood as the Conservative candidate for the relatively safe seat of the North West Ward on Keighley Town Council. Her candidacy was described in the Keighley News of 7th June 1958: “Standing for the Conservatives will be Mrs. Elsie M. Foulds, widow, of Oak Cottage, Devonshire Park, Keighley, a well-known figure in local British Legion circles. She is chairman of the North of England section of the Legion; a member of the national finance board; a representative on the appeals tribunal and was local Poppy Day organiser in 1957. A member of the Keighley Soroptimist Club, she is also interested in children’s homes.” The by-election was held on Thursday 26th June 1958, and Elsie defeated the Labour candidate (W. E. White) by 1,221 votes to 766.

Her unique position as a woman on the council was observed in the Keighley News of Saturday 5th July 1958: “Coun. Mrs. Elsie M. Foulds was the only woman on the Keighley Town Council when it met on Thursday… The mother of four grown-up children, Coun. Mrs. Foulds is an enthusiastic social worker and holds a number of responsible positions. She is chairman of the women’s section of the British Legion for the whole of the North, she serves on the War Pensions Committee, and she has been a representative on the Pensions Appeals Tribunal since 1946, when she was appointed by a Labour Lord Chancellor, although she herself is a Conservative, for her wide experience of this kind of work… As a newly-appointed member of the Housing and Health Committee of the Council she is very anxious to see that adequate housing is provided for all Keighley people.”

She was awarded the MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) for her work as Vice-Chairman of the Women’s Section of the British Legion in the New Years Honours List for 1963 (announced on 28th December 1962). The honour was acknowledged in the Keighley News of Saturday 5th January 1963: “One of the country’s most prominent workers for the women’s section of the British Legion is Coun. Mrs. E. M. Foulds of Skipton Road, Keighley, who this week has been made an MBE in the New Year’s Honours list. She is widely known nationally as well as locally. She is the chairman of the women’s section of the West Riding and at one time was the chairman for the whole of the northern district… Coun. Mrs. Foulds helped to organise the Poppy Day appeal one year in Keighley but she has helped to carry out similar duties in many parts of the country.”

On Tuesday 24th May 1966 she was formally appointed as Mayor of Keighley – the first woman to hold this post, and, in fact, the only woman to hold the post during the period of Keighley Borough Council. According to the Keighley News of Saturday 28th May: “At the mayor-making ceremony in the Town Hall, Mrs. Foulds said the appointment of a woman as Mayor had been long overdue and she hoped she would be the forerunner of many others… The retiring Mayor, Ald. Frank Jeffrey, proposing Mrs. Foulds as Mayor, said she had always been very forthright in her manner, and fellow councillors admired her for that. She had given long service to the town… Only seven women had been on Keighley Council, and Mrs. Foulds was the longest-serving of them.” The role of Mayoress was filled by County Councillor, Mrs. L. Hardaker.

Elsie’s year as Mayor ended when she formally handed over to successor Alan Greenwood on 23rd May 1967. During this time, she and the Mayoress had attended 257 official functions. The occasion was written up in the Keighley News of Saturday 27th May 1967: “Tributes were paid to retiring Mayor Mrs. Foulds by Ald. F. Jeffrey, Coun. Boocock and Ald. Welch. Ald. Welch said Mrs. Foulds had ably demonstrated that a woman could carry out the duties of the office as ably as men, and better than many of her predecessors. Both she and the Mayoress had won the affection of the townspeople – something the men could not hope to achieve. Ald. Jeffrey said Mrs. Foulds had fulfilled her promise to cut down the length of council meetings, and had made a great impact on the town generally. Replying, Mrs. Foulds joked, ‘You are in for a long wait at the next council meeting and councillors will go on repeating what has been said because I won’t be there to keep you in order!’.”

Elsie’s parting words were summarised in the newspaper’s coverage of the civic luncheon held to celebrate the new mayor’s appointment: “Mrs. Foulds said it had been a great honour to have been Mayor, and she was sure her choice of Mayoress had met with the approval of everyone. Together they had experienced a most wonderful and happy year… Concluding, she hoped the council would go ahead with their work but warned them: ‘Unless you cease your personalities in the Council, and unless you cease your with your schoolboy politics, you are never going to make your mark in Keighley.’.”

Portrait of Elsie May Foulds taken from the programme for the Keighley Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society’s 1966 production of “Guys and Dolls”. The Mayor served as President of the Society for her year in office. The programme is part of the Joy Rundle Collection, donated by Jane Eaman and Mark Rundle. Researched and collated by Tim Neal.

Percy Monkman – Artist

March is already upon us, and this month’s History Society meeting (on 13th March) features author Martin Greenwood talking about the life and work of his grandfather, the acclaimed local artist Percy Monkman. Percy Monkman’s life can be summed up in one phrase: “A job in banking, a life in the arts”. By day Percy Monkman worked in the same Bradford bank for 40 years, indeed the same office, ending up as chief cashier. Everything else about Percy was totally unconventional. By night, at weekends, on holidays he transformed himself into an entertainer, actor, artist and cartoonist whose work was regularly acclaimed by the public and held in great respect by colleagues.

He came from a humble working-class family in the Toller Lane area of Bradford and left school when he was fourteen. He joined the Bradford Civic Theatre in the 1930s and the Bradford Arts Club in the 1920s. Subjects for his paintings included the moors above Haworth, the Dales and the Pennines, Bolton Abbey, Bingley Fair, Forster Square, the canal at Shipley and Otley Chevin.

Martin has written an affectionate and comprehensive biography of Percy, available from the website Great British Bookshop (www.thegreatbritishbookshop.co.uk), £18.50 (softback), £22.50 (hardback). A small number of copies of the book will be available to buy on the night (cash only please).

Anyone is welcome to attend the meeting. Entry costs £3.50 (free if you are a history society member). The meetings are upstairs in the local studies library of Keighley Library on North Street. Doors open at 7pm, the meeting starts at around 7.20pm and Martin’s talk will begin at 7.30pm. We finish around 8.30pm. Please use the side entrance to the library on Albert Street if you are arriving after 7pm. Anyone is welcome to come along and if people wish to join the society they can pay in cash on the night (membership for the rest of 2024 costs £15 or £20 for a couple living at the same address).

The history society is 20 years old in 2024. It organises monthly meetings which are free to attend if you are a member (alternatively you can join via Zoom if you are a member). It has its own website and Facebook page, and it runs a Flickr site with over 20,000 images on that anyone is welcome to look at. It produces four newsletters a year which are sent to members via email, and it tries to organise at least one special visit a year.

Keighley in the 1960s/70s

February’s History Society meeting is on Wednesday 14th February. It is open to everyone and will be held at Keighley Library. Artist Kevin Bell will be revisiting the town where he grew up to share his memories and show some of the paintings he has created of that time. Plenty of nostalgia accompanied by terrific evocative paintings.

The meeting is held upstairs in the Local Studies Library. Doors open at 7pm and Kevin’s talk will start at 7.30pm. If arriving after 7pm, please use the side door entrance on Albert Street. Admission is £3.50. Admission is free to History Society members, who also have the option of joining via Zoom (Zoom meeting details are sent out via email a few days in advance).